New Las Vegas TV ad campaign features no gaming whatsoever

A new American Gaming Association report claims casinos contributed $53b to Nevada’s economy in 2013. The casinos’ direct economic impact was $30.6b but the Oxford Economics study takes into account not only casino revenue but also the impact of third-party services hired by the casinos and casino employees spending their wages in the state economy.

The study says casinos support 425k jobs in the state, producing income of over $18.8b for those workers and generating $7.9b in tax revenue for all branches of government. The AGA released a broader study in September that claimed the overall US gaming industry supported 1.7m jobs and contributed $240b to the national economy.

The past few years have seen Vegas reduce its emphasis on gaming in order to promote itself as a true ‘entertainment’ destination. The renewed emphasis on marquee entertainers doing residencies in casino theaters, superstar DJs spinning in clubs, pool parties and other non-gaming amenities has been credited with helping Vegas avoid the slump affecting so many other regional casino jurisdictions, who have little to offer besides what Steve Wynn derisively refers to as ‘boxes of slots.’

Further evidence of Vegas’ shift away from gaming is a new commercial from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors’ Authority (CVA). The ‘Transformation Guy’ ad (viewable below) is the latest in the highly successful ‘What Happens Here, Stays Here’ campaign. The ad, which features music from platinum-selling indie-rock act Imagine Dragons, is noticeable less for what it shows than for what it doesn’t show.

The ad was conceived by R&R Partners and shot at the SLS Las Vegas and MGM Grand casino-hotel properties but contains not one image of anything to do with gambling. We see clubs, pools and concerts but there’s nary a slot machine or gaming table in sight.

Caroline Coyle, the CVA’s VP of brand strategy, told the Associated Press that the absence of visible gaming wasn’t planned. “We really like to evoke just a feeling for Vegas.” Call us cynical, but we suspect Coyle really likes to pull our legs. The ad and a similar themed spot featuring a female lead began airing Monday on major TV networks across the US as part of a $7.6m ad buy.